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Monday, April 26, 2004

LAT Festival wrapup 

As promised, reports are starting to trickle in. First, a semi-official one from the LA Times themselves, who say that 130,000 brave souls showed up to peruse the offerings and get their books signed by their favorite authors. Damn, that's a rather large number of people.

Roger Simon has pictures, with an especially telling one of Elmore Leonard: if the temperatures were in the mid-90s, why on earth is Dutch wearing a sweater?!

Lee Goldberg, Simon's fellow panelmate, offers up his take on the Fest as well, especially his meeting up with legend (and favorite of the entire blogosphere, it seems) Donald E. Westlake:

By far, though, the highlight of the weekend for me was the hour or so I spent after the book awards chatting with Donald Westlake (first with Dick Lochte, who introduced us, then later with my brother Tod and Denise Hamilton). We talked about writing styles and techniques, the book business, screenwriting, and the movie adaptations of his work. We also talked about some of our favorite authors and he shared some marvelous anecdotes about Rex Stout, Elmore Leonard, Lawrence Block, Evan Hunter and my buddy Richard S. Prather. I was wowed. He's a living legend and a hell of a nice guy, too.

Can I just say how hugely excited I am to get the chance, hopefully, to meet Westlake tomorrow? I promise not to act like a complete fool ("WHY WHY WHY isn't DANCING AZTECS in print? Please, tell me this, sir.")

Anyway. And finally, Aldo Calcagno writes up the first part of the Festival activities, the Mystery Bookstore's pre-fest signing party that was held on Friday. Boy, he's certainly got the knack and flair for this blogging thing. And he brings extra good news: Scott Phillips' COTTONWOOD is going into a second printing! See, all those good reviews and great word-of-mouth does count for something after all. But I can't believe John Connolly had to foot the bill for dinner once again...he's really got to stop doing that.

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